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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report


'Japan win is a gift from God'

October 08, 2006 18:27 IST

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World champion Fernando Alonso hailed his surprise Japanese Grand Prix victory as a gift from God on Sunday after an engine failure left Michael Schumacher's Formula One title hopes in tatters.

The penultimate race of a hard-fought season left the Renault driver 10 points clear of his Ferrari foe and needing just one more point to seal the championship for the second year in a row.

After two retirements in the previous four races, in Hungary and in Italy, the Spaniard felt the wheel of fortune had finally turned his way again.

"It was not only Monza where we lose points, I think we had very unlucky moments in Hungary as well and in some other places as well -- China -- so we lost a lot of points in bad luck moments," he told a news conference.

"For sure these 10 points are a little present that God gave to us," he added after his seventh win of the season but first since Canada in June.

Alonso had led last weekend in China only to lose out to Schumacher after he and the team made a wrong tyre choice at his first pitstop.

In Monza he was penalised five places to 10th on the starting grid for allegedly impeding Ferrari's Felipe Massa in qualifying and was then sidelined when his engine blew.

The 25-year-old led in Hungary before a wheel nut came loose and pitched him out.

Renault have also suffered from the governing body's decision to outlaw a 'mass damper' system that had given the team a performance advantage.

"Today has been very hard for us, and we hadn't had things going our way for some time," team boss Flavio Briatore told Italy's RAI television. "This shows there is some justice -- we broke an engine in Monza and they broke one here.

"It's fair for the sport because we've equalized the dramas. Therefore it's a great result for Fernando and it's great for the team."

Alonso said Schumacher's engine failure, the seven times champion's first since the 2000 French Grand Prix, was the surprise of the race.

"I just didn't believe what I was seeing," he said.

"Victory means a lot, not only for me and the team as well, getting back their confidence. We deserved this victory a long time ago, I think.

"When you win it is a really happy moment and this victory is even better because it was a complete surprise," said the Spaniard, who danced a jig on his car after parking up.

"We never thought at any moment yesterday or this morning that we could fight for victory."

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